Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Dick Butkus dies at 80

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 10: Former Chicago Bear Dick Butkus is seen on the sideline during the game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 10, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

CHICAGO — Chicago Bears legend Dick Butkus has died, his family said in a statement Thursday.

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Butkus died at the age of 80, according to WGN-TV.

“The Butkus family confirms that football and entertainment legend Dick Butkus died peacefully in his sleep overnight at home in Malibu, California,” Butkus’ family said in a statement shared by the Bears.

The Bears’ chairman George McCaskey also released a statement calling Butkus the “ultimate Bear.”

“One of the greatest players in NFL history. He was Chicago’s son. He exuded what our great city is about and not coincidentally what George Halas looked for in a player: toughness, smarts, instincts, passion and leadership. He refused to accept anything less than the best from himself, or his teammates,” McCaskey said.

“His contributions to the game he loved will live forever and we are grateful he was able to be at our home opener this year to be celebrated one last time with his many fans,” McCaskey continued.

Butkus was a first-team All-Pro selection five times, according to the Associated Press. He made the Pro Bowl eight out of his nine seasons.

Butkus had more than 1,020 tackles and 22 interceptions during his career, according to ESPN. He was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, the first year he was eligible.

He retired at the age of 31 because of knee injuries. Even with his short career, according to the AP, he was among the NFL’s top 100 players.

Butkus later acted in movies, TV shows and commercials, the AP reported.

No cause of death has been released.